August 27, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria Schools – Ripe with opportunities

Urban school districts like Elyria Schools may have their challenges – socioeconomic issues, dwindling enrollment and others – but they only heighten this district’s dedication to serving each and every child, no matter what the circumstances.

One of Ohio’s 21 urban school districts, Elyria City Schools boast a diverse student population whose demographics open up a world of creative possibilities from academic programming and professional development to government grant awards.

The Elyria school district serves upwards of 7,200 students (PreK through Grade 12) in seven elementary buildings, three middle schools and one 1,900-student high school. It also operates a full-day kindergarten with six satellite locations that collectively serve nearly 600 students, as well as an integrated preschool.
While it began as a pilot program 11 years ago, Elyria’s full-day kindergarten has blossomed into a veritable success story. The research tells the tale: By significant margins, children in Elyria’s full-day kindergarten outperformed their half-day counterparts in virtually every aspect, particularly in reading and math, an accomplishment that lasted well beyond their primary years. All this with a program that comes at no cost to parents, as it’s federally funded through poverty-based assistance.

Elyria Kindergarten Village students gather with their teacher, Kathy Petersen, on the alphabet rug in their classroom. The alphabet rug is where kindergarteners come together for storytime and other classroom group activities.

Elyria Kindergarten Village students gather with their teacher, Kathy Petersen, on the alphabet rug in their classroom. The alphabet rug is where kindergarteners come together for storytime and other classroom group activities.

Through state and federal funding, Elyria has been able to advance professional development, provide specialized instructors for key content areas and gain access to sophisticated progress-monitoring technologies. The district’s teachers are highly trained in many disciplines, and the district itself often serves as a pilot for new programs of study.

Elyria High School, the district’s century-old flagship school, has piloted numerous programs, such as a grant-funded credit-recovery concept that keeps struggling students on track for graduation. That said, EHS now has nearly a 90% graduation rate – up from 63% just a decade ago – as well as college preparatory courses and honors programs that would be the envy of any school district. Meanwhile, Elyria High School is being rebuilt as a state-of-the art high school that will be a boon to the community and to generations of Elyria students.

With the wide array of intervention and enrichment programs available in the Elyria Schools, and the guidance of a district that believes every child matters, Elyria students will find success in the Elyria City Schools.